But it’s not professional…

I wanted to send a new drug regulation booklet to clients in a Cracker Jack Box.  The booklet was the free prize inside.

“But it’s not professional,” says Dave the Regulatory Manager.

His words stink up the room.  The death stroke to a creative campaign.  As a marketer who specializes in business to business, I have heard this rebuttal many times.  I understand the concern. “Professional” is the code-word when you want to be taken seriously.  The need to be seen as smart, good at solving problems and offering high-quality products and services.  The client chooses a consultant based only upon credentials and experience. So what could a crackerjack box have to do with any of that?  

 “We sell consulting services to the pharmaceutical industry – not toys,” Dave adds.  The marketer in me pushes back, insisting we need to stand out. But frankly, it’s more than that. Much more.

Let’s agree that in a B2B environment you need your customer to perceive you as hardworking and willing to go the extra mile.  That you want to be seen as smarter and great at solving problems. Your products and services are worthy of purchasing. And this has nothing to do with Cracker Jacks.  It’s about your expertise, awards, and designations. Right? 

Not so fast.

Here is some research you may find enlightening.  I know I did. But before I share it, understand this comes from a bunch of economists.  Not marketers. Economists are even less creative than accountants. Ever heard of a creative economist – Anyone?  

The Stockholm School of Economics concluded: The more creative the advertising, regardless of whether the creativity was relevant to the selling message (the Cracker Jacks had nothing to do with the offer) the greater the positive impact it had on perception.  Specifically, creative ads made people feel the company will go to greater effort for them (52% more), that the company was smarter (69% higher), better at solving problems (83% higher), products were of higher quality (36%), and the products were worth purchasing (71%).

The source for the above statistics is: The Case for Creativity by James Hurman, page 156-158.

So, if you want to be seen as hard-working, a good problem solver, willing to go to greater effort, smart and of high quality – get creative.  Maybe… use a Cracker Jack box.

Oh, and my Cracker Jack campaign – had a 30% response rate.  We booked a lot of classes.

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